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Water is topic of campus-wide study project


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Water is getting a lot of scrutiny at Sacramento State this year. It’s the topic of the University’s new global education program, the One World Initiative, which each year uses a subject of worldwide importance in many different classes and course work elements, discussions and other events, examining it from several viewpoints.

The initiative is patterned after the University’s One Book Program, which chooses a book to be shared among many classes and disciplines across the campus.

Water Initiative

The scope of water’s impact is one of the reasons it was chosen for this inaugural One World Initiative.

“Water is a very broad topic,” says Lisa Hammersley, geology professor and coordinator of the initiative. “It’s important scientifically. It’s a social issue. It’s a political issue. It has also inspired countless pieces of literature, music and art.”

Most of the effort is centered on getting instructors to incorporate the topic into their curricula. That, says Hammersley, allows a student in four classes to examine one idea from four different perspectives.

And there are many perspectives to consider. Even the University’s Air Force ROTC is looking at the topic as part of its Setting the World Stage class, noting the potential danger for 2.7 billion people who live in areas where water-related crises create a high risk of violent conflict.

But beyond the class work, there are many events that will shed light on the subject.

The Community Engagement Center kicks off the yearlong initiative with its Great American River Cleanup from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 15. Volunteers are still being sought to help beautify the river and reduce the threat of pollution. Visit for more information.

Environmental Studies will host guest speaker Nadir Salman Abo-Tubikh of the University of Basrah Marine Science Center, Iraq. He will discuss Saddam Hussein’s draining of the massive Mesopotamian Marshes to create severe hardships for the resident Marsh Arabs, and the efforts to restore the area. Abo-Tubikh will speak 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the Redwood Room of the University Union.

The WELL recreation and wellness center will support the initiative by informing students about the importance of staying hydrated and participating in conservation by utilizing reusable water bottles.

And Sacramento State’s Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Excellence will make water the topic of February’s STEM Lecture.

“It was our goal that no department would feel this was something that didn’t apply to them,” says Hammersley.

For more information on this year’s One World Initiative topic, visit For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Craig Koscho